Tag Archives: Trip

Swanage 2019

Weekend conditions

Water temperature of 11 degrees Celsius.

Wind speeds of force 4-6 on Saturday, 2-3 on Sunday.

Friday 3rdMay 2019

We made our way across to Swanage on Friday afternoon/evening, arriving at the Swanage Coastal Park, successfully navigating our way from the south east.

News from Bryan, the Skipper of the Mary Jo (our chartered weekend hard boat), was that high winds forecast for Saturday, meant no dives were currently planned for Saturday, unless weather conditions improved.

On settling into the Coastal Park, we made our way into Swanage for dinner and after dinner drinks at the Black Swan Inn!

Saturday 4thMay

The next morning, we waited in anticipation for news of improving weather conditions, and Bryan confirmed the planned afternoon wreck dive to visit the Fleur de Lys was on! 

So, mid-morning we headed off to Swanage Pier and found sufficient car spaces to park up side-by-side off the pier and begun making our preparations, with the assistance of the shop/rental shop of Divers Downs.

With the Mary Jo ready and with divers and equipment safely on board, we made our way out into Swanage Bay to where the Fleur de Lys lay in waiting.

Following a successful dive outing and an opportunity for some of us to try our new equipment(!), we settled into pizza and pasta, followed by an early night, in anticipation for what was promising to be improved weather conditions for the forthcoming day.

Sunday 5thMay

At 0630 we queued briefly for parking on Swanage Pier under clear blue skies and a rising sun, in anticipation for the days’ 2 planned drift dives. With parking and preparations complete, we set off once again on the Mary Jo.

<Peverill Ledges>
With slower tide speeds and improved visibility, Peverill Ledges gave us increased opportunities to spot wildlife and other maritime objects.

<Old Harry Rocks>
The tides were noticeably stronger off Old Harry Rocks and probably as close an experience as we’ll get to being flying superheroes (or being in a washing machine)!
With the second of the days’ drift dives complete, we began making our way home, for a well-earned night’s sleep, and fortunately with a Bank Holiday Monday to help rest up and recover.

Particular thanks to Trevor for organising!

By Ollie

Pembrokeshire August 2018

We arrived at our cottage in St Ishmaels on the Pembrokeshire coast on a bright sunny afternoon. Sadly the weather wasn’t quite as kind the following morning, with stereotypical Welsh rain and too much wind for the dive boat to go out. But we took the opportunity to explore the area, with a trip up to St David’s – as well as an unscheduled trip to Halfords to replace a broken car battery… And we even cooked up a curry feast, followed by a blackberry and apple pie, decorated with an artfully crafted octopus! 

 

Blackberry and apple pie before cooking

The weather was a bit breezy for the rest of the week (although no more rain and lots of sun), which meant the diving was spread over the week. Most of us managed to get in a good three days though. And the diving was great. The boat was very spacious, and the skipper Brian really knew his stuff, having dived here himself for years. He gave detailed briefings, and we were treated to lots of sealife. Unfortunately, the vis wasn’t great due to the weather, but we still managed to see plenty. The highlight for me were all the crustaceans, including lobsters, lots of different crabs, squat lobsters, shrimp and huge crayfish. Akiko and I even sotted a lobster who had clearly just finished a rather tasty meal of one of these crayfish, judging from the shell scattered around! There were also lots of fabulous sponges – more varieties and much bigger than I’ve seen in UK waters before. Another great spot was the huge scallops, half buried in the sand and busy feeding. There were plenty of flatfish and gobies, the odd tompot blenny, and the occasional wrasse appeared out of the gloom!

Our boat

 

And when we couldn’t dive, we made the most of everything this beautiful place had to offer. We explored the stunning coastal path, with craggy cliffs, practically deserted and dramatic beaches, baby seals in the coves, and lots of birds. There was swimming in the sea, body boarding, and cycling. And some of us made the most of the wind to practise our kite-flying skills! It also turned into a bit of a gourmet trip as we made the most of the self-catering, with home-made pizza, pasta, and yet more blackberry desserts!

Broadhaven